Coming into today’s matchup with the Tennessee Titans, the Minnesota Vikings defense was starting to get some attention around the league. Now with a dominating victory over the Titans, and only allowing 7 points, the Minnesota defense has established itself as one of the best in 2012.
This win didn’t come without its fair share of challenges though, as rookie safety Harrison Smith was ejected in the first half for making contact with an official.
Smith has been one of the main reasons for the turnaround of the Vikings’ defense, bringing a physical style of play to the table, which again was on display in this one.
Even without their star rookie, Minnesota had no problems snuffing the Titans all game long. The ground attack from Chris Johnson was ineffective, as he gained only 24 yards on 15 attempts. Fill-in quarterback Matt Hasselbeck did not appear to be on the same page with his receivers for much of the game, and the Titans’ offense was unable to get into rhythm.
The front-four continued to get pressure on their own, as Jared Allen and Brian Robison both recorded sacks.
Chad Greenway, Erin Henderson, and Jasper Brinkley all had good games from the linebacker position, combining for 17 total tackles as well.
So what does all this mean for the Vikings?
It means that they’re getting consistency at every level of their defense. From the secondary down to the line, everyone is playing their role. They’re bringing ball carriers down on first contact, and doing it with authority.
It’s crazy to think that this unit was one of the worst in the league a season ago. But with a few off-season tweaks, and Alan Williams now at the helm, it looks like an entirely different group even though most of the players are the same.
Going forward the defense must stick to the game plan: keep everything in front, get pressure with the front-four, and continue to tackle well. It’s basic defensive football, but it’s working in Minnesota.